Are you getting a little nervous with less than a week of shopping days left until Christmas? Just take a tip from Santa himself. Keep a reasonable schedule, take the time to donate at Community Blood Center (CBC) if you can, and enjoy the cookies!
William “Bill” Morgan of Centerville made his 100th lifetime donation at the Dayton CBC in December. He’s an apheresis donor, so he was back again Tuesday, Dec. 17 for another platelet donation, only this time he was in his full Santa Claus gear.
Though Bill is a former “professional” Santa Claus, he now only dons the suit for family gatherings and charity events. “Monday I rode on the fire engine with the Kettering Fire Department to deliver presents to volunteer firefighter families.” He set aside Tuesday to make his blood donation and to hand out candy canes to fellow CBC donors.
“Tomorrow I’m busy with a party at Bethany Nursing Home, and all the way the rest of the week!” He has already made his annual appearance at the St. Vincent de Paul Society luncheon and will be out at 6 a.m. Christmas Day delivering presents to kids living in the St. Vincent Family Shelter. “Of course the kids get excited,” he said, “but the moms at the women’s shelter seem to have even more fun with it than the kids do!”
After his donation Santa Bill gets some quick refreshments in the Donor Café. His beverage of choice is coffee. “I know, everyone expect it to be milk and cookies,” he laughs, but I like coffee. “The kids always wonder which one is Santa’s favorite cookie, and the answer is chocolate chip. “I always get three of them!” he said between munches.
As a life-saving platelet donor, Bill has become as reliable as St. Nick making his rounds on Christmas Eve. As he visits the Donor Room, fellow donors want to know how he became the Man in Red. He explains that his double role as blood donor and Santa Claus dates back to when his grandson Brendon – now a freshman at the University of Dayton – was just a little boy.
“My grandson just turned 19 on Dec. 1,” Bill said. “His first birthday party was the first year I did Santa, and I’ve been Santa ever since.” He worked a few seasons as a professional “Mall Santa,” but didn’t care for it because it seemed to only cause stress for everyone.
His most profound experiences as a Santa have been meeting families that are experiencing hard times and have suffered great loss. Their joy in the magic of Christmas always seems to be brighter and more hopeful than anyone’s. “That has always been amazing to me,” said Santa Bill as he pulled his bright red coat over his red blood donor arm bandage and got ready to make his rounds. It just isn’t Christmas at CBC until Santa comes to town.